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Shining bright on the diamond: local teams win Youth World Series title

A group of youth baseball players and coaches recently transitioned from the Aces to the Five Star program.

"We want to insure that we instill that love of the game so they're able to propogate that through their youth."

Baseball takes on a different meaning for some 9, 10 and 11 year olds in the New River Valley. They’ve been playing travel ball together for about 3 years but this past year has been special.

“We just joined the Five Star pretty much and before that we all played together,” said Caleb Crotty.

“We started off as the Aces locally then as of this season we transitioned over to Five Star,” said 9U head coach Jim Overbay.

“It opens up the opportunity to team up with all-star players in Northern Virginia, Ocean City, Knoxville, Tennessee,” Overbay said.

This in turns gives these guys the chance to compete with the best competition at larger tournaments, such as the Youth World Series, which was held last weekend in Ocean City, Maryland.

“We were kind of nervous but not really,” said Walker Overbay, a player on the Five Star 9U team.

No nerves were evident, as the 9U team won 4-0 in their championship game.

“They were really happy and crowded around each other and it was just amazing,” Walker said.

The 11U group didn’t come away empty handed either. They earned a 5-2 victory and were also named Youth World Series champs.

“I was pitching, I don’t even know. I think everybody was jumping,” said Crotty.

“It was huge,” Coach Overbay said.

“Great publicity and we’re building the program in this area. We’re the hub for the Blue Ridge District here. We feel like this will enhance recruiting ability. Instead of staying local, we have the ability to come together as a team and get all the great talent around the area and compete at at higher level.”

Compete for not just wins, but for titles while forming a brotherhood that will go beyond the diamond and open up greater opportunities.

“It serves as a great feeder system as these guys get older for middle school ball, high school ball. Also these bigger tournaments as they get older 14U, 15U, 16U there’s a lot of scouts for colleges and stuff which allows them to get a foot in the door to get exposure,” said Overbay.

When asked what he wants people to know about his team, Walker Overbay said, “We’re hard to beat.” To which one of his teammates said slyly, “Yeah we are.”